Recent studies have found conflicting evidence on the role of α-tocopherol (αTF) on bone health. This nonsystematic review aimed to summarize the current evidence on the effects of αTF on bone health from cell culture, animal, and human studies in order to clarify the role of αTF on bone health. Our review found that αTF exerted beneficial, harmful or null effects on bone formation cells. Animal studies generally showed positive effects of αTF supplementation on bone in various models of osteoporosis. However, high-dose αTF was possibly detrimental to bone in normal animals. Human studies mostly demonstrated a positive relationship between αTF, as assessed using high performance liquid chromatography and/or dietary questionnaire, and bone health, as assessed using bone mineral density and/or fracture incidence. Three possible reasons high dosage of αTF can be detrimental to bone include its interference with Vitamin K function on bone, the blocking of the entry of other Vitamin E isomers beneficial to bone, and the role of αTF as a prooxidant. However, these adverse effects have not been shown in human studies. In conclusion, αTF may have a dual role in bone health, whereby in the appropriate doses it is beneficial but in high doses it may be harmful to bone.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.